Mograbieh salad with winter squash, arugula, walnuts and cranberries

mograbieh salad

Man it’s so hard to get back on track when you don’t feel like it. I keep telling myself ‘you should post a new recipe’, and it’s not for lack of inspiration, it’s just that I’ve (temporarily) lost my modjo. It will come back, I know that these things work in cycles, but in the meantime I need to provide you with something to get by. Or at least provide my very superegotistic brain with substance to carry us over to the next chapter.

Susbstance comes today in the form of a super simple and colorful salad. To be honest, all November feelings and fatigue set aside, I’ve been sensing that food blogging is on its way to becoming something else, something that I’m not sure I want to be a part of. I feel like a dinosaur, and yet people still call me “Miss” on the street. So I’m left with one of two options; either I decide that I’m out-of-date and this food-blogging on the side ‘business’ (I never made a penny out of it) is done, or I keep doing what I’m doing and own to it like something that does me GOOD. You already know the end of that story.

I hope you like this salad as much as it was liked over here, for days on end, relentlessly delivering its flavors and never making us feel like we were old or out-of-date. This whole uplifting thing about food is no hoax.

mograbieh salad

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Mograbieh salad with winter squash, arugula, walnuts and cranberries

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:

- 1 medium size red kuri squash or other medium size squash (such as acorn)
- 21 oz mograbieh
- 2 – 3 cups fresh arugula, rinsed
- 2/3 cups walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- olive oil and balsamic, for the dressing

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, cut the squash into quarters and remove seeds, then place face up on prepared sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

2. In the meantime, cook the mograbieh according to package instructions. Drain, season with salt if necessary, and let cool after drizzling with olive oil to prevent sticking.

3. Once the squash is roasted and cooled down, cut into cubes. Mix all the salad ingredients in a large bowl, season with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and serve at room temperature.

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mograbieh saladMy tips:

- Mograbieh is also known as pearl couscous. You’ll most likely find it in exotic or Middle Eastern grocery stores.
- I didn’t need to add any salt to the mograbieh since the brand I used was (generously) presalted: check the ingredients before seasoning.
- Season with olive oil and vinegar to taste (or use your favorite vinaigrette.)
- If you make this salad ahead of time, add the arugula at the last minute.

Source: Clementine Cuisine original.

Roasted olive and grape crostini with fresh cheese

tartines olives raisin rôtis au fromage frais - roasted grape and olive crostini with fresh cheese

This olive and grape combo has been around my blog since its early days, when I actually posted a recipe for ricotta with grapes and olives, that was enough of a turning point -culinary speaking- to me that I still clearly remember all the details of when I made it, when I posted it, and why it came to mind. Let’s skip past all the boring details, and fast forward to today, when this recipe is, at least I think, not available anymore on the new platform, which feels to me like one of my first borns has been missing for too long.

I tend to get a bit overdramatic when it comes to food, especially food ideas that I came up with.

Unfortunately, after I came up with such a genius idea, I realized that Deb had thought it up long before I had, so I can’t take full credit for this.

tartines olives raisin rôtis au fromage frais - roasted grape and olive crostini with fresh cheese

But what I know for sure is nevermind who first combined grapes and olives, it’s something that needs to be tried by you at some point this fall, if only to realize that the quintessential fall grape and summer olive are meant to merge in a beautifully seasonally hybrid crostini. Plus, I mean, saying crostini is plain fun. So there’s that.

There’s also (and I promise I’ll stop rambling there) the fact that each and every person who tasted these had a wow moment. I guess they don’t look much, or at least not as much as they taste, but even to those who usually don’t care for grapes, and to those who cringe at the word “crostini”, it was a huge gustative surprise. These are the kinds of moments when you’re glad to be cooking for people you love. Like you’re a special wizard of ingredients or something of the sort.

tartines olives raisin rôtis au fromage frais - roasted grape and olive crostini with fresh cheese

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Roasted olive and grape crostini with fresh cheese

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yields 8 crostini

Ingredients:

- 4 large slices rye bread, halved
- 5 oz (150 g) black grapes
- 3.5 oz (100 g) pitted green olives, halved lengthways
- 1 drizzle olive oil
- 3.5 oz (100 g) fresh cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and place the bread slices on it in one layer. In a oven pan, stir together the grapes, halved olives, drizzle olive oil, and freshly cracked pepper. Bake the bread for 5 minutes, until crusty, and the grapes and olives for 10 to 15 minutes, until the grapes are roasted (you can leave them a few minutes longer if you want the olives to brown a bit.)

2. Once the bread has slightly cooled down, spread fresh cheese generously, and place the olives and grapes on top. Add a bit more freshly cracked pepper if you wish, and serve immediately or refrigerate until ready serve, and reheat at 375°F for 10 minutes just before serving.

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tartines olives raisin rôtis au fromage frais - roasted grape and olive crostini with fresh cheeseMy tips: 

- Warning! These crostini are extremely difficult to eat in a distinguished fashion. You will most probably end up on all four searching for this damn grape under the coffee table. My advice: just serve them with small plates. They’re worth the extra clean up.
- The recipe I used as inspiration (thanks Deb, queen of all beautiful kitchen ideas) uses ricotta. You can also use a sharper fresh cheese, such as fresh goat cheese, or a milder option, such as cream cheese.

Source: inspired by Smitten Kitchen.

Vegan carrot cake with coconut frosting

carrot cake glaçage noix de coco VEGAN carrot cake with coconut frosting

In case you were thinking “Oh, I feel like next weekend will be a bit light on orange” and you needed a baking project because well, not enough sweets are coming your way, I’ve got you covered. Don’t thank me, I’m considerate like that.

It’s only fair that I would post a carrot cake recipe while I’m at Uncle Sam’s. You see, in France we do know about carrot cake, but some, like say my father-in-law, will never in a million years consider tasting it. Carrot in a cake? Thanks but no thanks. We’re still at that first stage of culinary evolution, don’t be too hard on us. I for one I’ve been having carrot cake on a fairly regular basis since I was a child, when my great-aunt would make its fatty creamy layered version every time we had a family gathering. I remember simultaneously being attracted to and repulsed by it.

This is not that. For one thing, it’s nothing to be repulsed about. I mean, unless you’re repulsed by vegan desserts, in which case you should seriously reconsider your visits to this blog –and your acquaintance with me, in case there is one. I mean, vegan desserts are probably the most fun part of vegan anything. You get to bake with no eggs and no butter! It doesn’t get much more fun that that, if you ask me.

I don’t know, it might just be me.

carrot cake glaçage noix de coco VEGAN carrot cake with coconut frosting

Also, this carrot cake is not one bit fat, on the contrary; it feels like a moderately spiced pillow of fall with a little cloud of exoticism on top. I still haven’t met one person who thought it was only okay. The general reaction to the first bite was rather hyperbolic, followed by an existential crisis of the “how am I ever going to be able to stop” type.

Let’s talk for a minute about coconut frosting: it’s.the.real.deal. I’m so in love with this invention –and with my first actual successful attempt at coconut whipped cream– that I could scream with joy. Oh the possibilities that suddenly open up to me… So many layered and fluffy vegan cakes in my future. If I needed anything else to convince me that butter is now obsolete, this is it (Please, do not hate me for saying that, I still very much care about you, butter.)

See you on the other side of the ocean!

Note: If you couldn’t care less about my butterless life rant, feel free to move on to a more traditional carrot cake.

carrot cake glaçage noix de coco VEGAN carrot cake with coconut frosting

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Vegan carrot cake with coconut frosting

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 – 30 minutes
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

For the cake:

-  2/3 cup (160 ml) rice milk (or other vegetable milk)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup cassonade
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
- 4.5 oz (130 g = about 1/2 cup) unsweetened quality applesauce
- 1 3/4 cups + 2 tbsp (240 g) flour
- heaping 1/2 cup (50 g) rolled oats
- 7 oz (200 g) grated carrots

For the frosting:

- 1 (15 oz) can coconut cream (not milk!), refrigerated overnight
- 2 tbsp vegan friendly confectioners’ sugar (or more to taste)
- 1 few chopped hazelnuts, to decorate

Directions:

1. Preheat oven at 350°F. Grease a square 8″ cake pan.

2. To make the cake: In a large bowl, whip together the rice milk, oil, applesauce, vanilla, rice vinegar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, until smooth. Gradually whip in the flour, until smooth, then the oats, until incorporated. Finally, stir in the grated carrots. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until an inserted blade comes out of the cake almost clean. Let cool to remove from pan, then let cool completely.

3. To make the icing: with an electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat the chilled coconut cream until it firms up, then add the confectioners’ sugar until smooth and firm as whipped cream. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

4. To assemble: If you’d like your cake to look particularly fancy, you can slice off the sides of your square cake, and discard (meaning: gobble them.) Spread the icing on top of the cake, then sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and serve at room temperature, or refrigerate in an airtight compartment until ready to serve. Remove from refrigerator 10 minutes before serving.

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vegan carrot cakeMy tips:

- I more than halved the sugar measurements here, since I don’t like my desserts to be too sweet. Everyone loved it anyway, but feel free to double the amount of sugar if you’re used cakes that are on the sweeter side.
- This cake is also great served plain without icing (especially as a breakfast cake…)
- This recipe is magical: you can refrigerate your iced cake for 3-4 days in an airtight compartment without altering its quality.

Source: Cake adapted from Au vert avec Lili, frosting adapted from Minimalist Baker.

Hazelnut and yogurt cake bites (no eggs)

petits moelleux noisettes - hazelnut cake bites

Say hello to another Monday baking project! Err, Wednesday project, sorry. This week just snuck up on me like the little sneak that it’s been, but it’s all good since by tomorrow I’LL BE ON BREAK. Majorly shall I add, since I’m celebrating by crossing an ocean. The only way I know how.

This little last-recipe-before-I-go treat is made easy on you, in case you have no eggs sitting in the fridge, yet you need to get something -moderately- sweet on the table, or you desperately need to get your baking on –if only to use up your friend’s fresh backyard hazelnuts. In both instances, this recipe was just the ticket.

Speaking of tickets, I’m going to go finish my almost-over work week before I move to greener pastures, and to my favorite skyline in the world. I could bore you on and on with the magic that yogurt cake works here, but I’m sure your good friend Google will fill you in in case you’re left wondering… See you soon friends!

petits moelleux noisettes - hazelnut cake bites

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Hazelnut and yogurt cake bites (no eggs)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yields 30 cake bites

Ingredients:

- 1 (4.5 oz) plain yogurt container + keep the container for measuring
- 1 1/2 container hazelnut meal
- 1/2 container sugar
- 2 containers flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 – 2 packets vanilla sugar
- 1/2 container vegetable oil
- 3 – 4 tbsp milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease individual pans (such as financier pans, or mini muffin pans). In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, hazelnut meal and sugar.

2. Stir in the flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar. Stir in the oil, until smooth. Stir in the milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach a smooth and flexible enough consistency to fill individual pans (the dough will still be a bit sticky.)

3. Fill in the pans up to 3/4, then bake for 10 to 15 minutes, checking regularly, until the top is puffed and golden. Let cool before removing from pans.

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petits moelleux noisettes - hazelnut cake bitesMy tips:

- I halved the sugar measurements, which led me to use 2 packets of vanilla sugar (an ingredient I barely ever use to be honest, but here it worked!)
- The baking time will largely depend on the size of the pans you’re using.

Source: adapted from Anaiscuisine.

Pan fried carrots with almonds and grapes

poêlée carottes raisins amandes carrot almond grapes vegan

I’ve been coming up with a pretty consistent posting pattern of one not-so-healthy and rather-on-the-indulging-side recipe on Monday, and one totally redeeming recipe by the end of the week, once a week. It’s like I was living life upside down compared to basically everyone, meaning my Mondays are cause for celebration, and come the weekend, I need to restrain a bit.

I don’t really have a rational explanation for it, all I know is that posting cake recipes on Monday brings me joy. And then I feel the need to make up for so much sweetness with some balance later in the week. Good measure is something that takes me quite far in life.

This dish is the definition of redeeming. You can have it on its own or serve it over your carb of choice. I love the sweet and savory combo, the crunchy yet softened almonds, the surprising mix of textures and flavors, and the typically fall-ish feel with the color palette. Doctor it up to your taste, but I feel like this is a pretty good start to a fall season that’s full of promises.

poêlée carottes raisins amandes carrot almond grapes vegan

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Pan fried carrots with almonds and grapes

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients:

- 10 oz (=300 g) carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 heaping cup (=150 g) whole unsalted almonds
- 1 heaping cup (=200 g) white grapes
- 2 – 3 pinches ground nutmeg
- 2 pinches paprika

Directions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add the carrots, nutmeg and paprika and sautee for about 5 minutes, until they start to brown. Add the almonds and sautee for 5 more minutes.

2. Add 1/2 cup water and let cook until all the water is absorbed. Add the grapes and sautee for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until everything starts to brown. Adjust seasoning (add a bit more nutmeg, if necessary), and serve warm.

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poêlée carottes raisins amandes carrot almond grapes vegan My tips: 

- Add any fresh herbs you have on hand (parsley, cilantro…)
- Serve over rice or couscous for example.

Source: adapted from Une végétarienne presque parfaite.

Vegan pear and almond cake

gâteau poire amandes vegan pear and almond cake

I’m sitting here with my cup of tea and the cold morning sun streaming through the window after what could arguably be called a pretty rough weekend, and I’m thinking: “Why don’t we have mandatory cake every Monday?” I mean, wouldn’t it be so much easier to be eager to start the week if you knew you had cake waiting for you at the other end of that commute? Or even better, if you had baked a cake for all of your super nice coworkers and you knew you were going to spread joy around you on a Monday morning? (Yes, I do live in wonderland where coworkers are nothing but nice.)

I don’t know, #mondaycake sounds like a thing to me. I wish I were a trendsetter.

In the meantime, I’m just a follower with this beautifully simple and surprisingly delicious recipe. Okay, I’m using “surprisingly” here because as you may have gathered by now, I’m a skeptic. So such a quick recipe with such basic ingredients AND vegan to top it off, I don’t know, sounded too good to be true. It was not.

I baked this cake for my dear friend’s birthday, it was meant for his birthday breakfast, and when he had a bite the night of, he seemed content. I was thrilled since he’s all but a vegan enthusiast (think: cheese with more cheese on top as a staple meal), and even I when I had a slice and then another one I just couldn’t stop myself the next day, I was impressed at how non-vegan it felt –meaning there was no way in hell someone was going to call you out on it, in case you had such friends… I know I do ! Happy cake Monday!

gâteau poire amandes vegan pear and almond cake

sdfs

gâteau poire amandes vegan pear and almond cake

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Vegan pear and almond cake

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 6 

Ingredients:

- 1 1/2 cups   (= 200 g) flour
- 1/4 cup cassonade
- 4 tbsp baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup soy milk
- 2 pears in syrup, sliced
- 2 – 3 tbsp sliced almonds

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8″ springform pan.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cassonade, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir in the almond butter, vegetable oil and soy milk, stirring well between each ingredient, until smooth.

3. Pour into prepared pan, top with sliced pears and sliced almonds and bake for 30 minutes, until an inserted knife comes out clean. Let cool before removing from pan and serving.

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gâteau poire amandes vegan pear and almond cakeMy tips:

- As is, this cake is not outrageously sweet (the way I like it.) You can add more sugar to the batter if you have a particularly sweet tooth.
- Substitute any fruit of your liking.

Source: adapted from Tasting Good Naturally.

Paprika roasted eggplants

aubergines rôties paprika - paprika roasted eggplants

This is my very last recipe of the summer. As may be obvious by now, I’ve been trying to stretch out summer as far as I can into September, however unforgiving this month has been. I mean, it’s okay September, we’re not on great terms right now, but we’ll remain friends. Kind of. Just try to be gentler on me next time.

Thankfully the weather is rather mild these days, so I don’t feel too guilty not jumping head first into all things gourds just yet. Though I did just roast a pumpkin for my daughter’s meal, so there’s that. In the meantime, I try to stuff my face with as much eggplant as I can, which is a pretty easy thing to do when it’s your one goal of the week, food-wise.

I hope you like these as much as I did all summer — they were my staple dish: serve them cold as a light and bright salad, warm just out of the oven, or reheated with a plate of pasta or a dish of rice, these just go with everything you have on hand, and yet bring a certain Mediterranean class to your table. Enjoy.

aubergines rôties paprika - paprika roasted eggplants

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Paprika roasted eggplants

Prep time: 10 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 3 – 4

Ingredients:

- 2 lb eggplants (=3 large eggplants)
- salt
- ground paprika
- olive oil

Directions:

1. Slice the eggplants into 1/2″ thick slices, then place in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Season with salt generously, and let sit for 30 minutes. The eggplants will “sweat” water. After 30 minutes, wipe the water off with kitchen towels.

2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake the eggplants in a single layer on the same baking sheet for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, drizzle generously with olive oil, sprinkle with paprika, and serve warm, at room temperature, or refrigerated if made ahead.

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aubergines rôties paprika roasted eggplantsMy tips:

- The amount of oil and paprika used will depend on your taste –I don’t use a lot of oil because I don’t want this dish to be too heavy, but I am pretty generous with my paprika sprinkling.
- You can also reheat the eggplants and serve them as a side dish with whatever meal you’re having that day.

Source: Clementine Cuisine original.

Vegan moist chocolate cake

gâteau chocolat ultra moelleux vegan moist chocolate cake

It was a dreary Sunday night. End of summer, light but persistent drizzle outside, night falling way to early for what should technically still be called a summer month. One of those inbetween moments. I had one of two options. Either crawl into bed and do my best to forget the week to come, or remember that the next day was a monthiversary and now might be as a good a time as any to make it into a celebration instead of just whining about that gray feeling.

So I set out to bake a cake. (Chocolate, of course, I mean, what else really.)

And then the miracle happened: I came by a recipe for which I had. all. the. ingredients.

gâteau chocolat ultra moelleux vegan moist chocolate cake

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It had never happened before. Sure, I had tweaked a few recipes, or even made a couple by default just to use up what I had on hand, but actually making a desirable recipe with only pantry ingredients? Oh my. At some point I couldn’t find my baking powder anywhere, and, thinking it had been lost in the recent move, I couldn’t resist my usual pessimistic rant “raah, of course life doesn’t give you that kind of gift”.

But it does, friends, it does. I found my baking powder (were you sitting at the edge of your seat too?), baked a vegan chocolate cake, and on top of everything, enjoyed it for breakfast on Monday morning like it was no thing. Guys, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to bake vegan chocolate cakes and it came out a disaster, but this happened to me more than I care to admit, so I’m beyond excited to have finally found a staple vegan chocolate cake recipe that 1) actually tastes like chocolate 2) doesn’t use weird-sounding ingredients 3) is incredibly moist 4) is ready in minutes.

Everyone should start their week off with vegan chocolate cake for breakfast, if you ask me.

gâteau chocolat ultra moelleux vegan moist chocolate cake

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Vegan moist chocolate cake

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

- 1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp (=200 g) flour
- 1 cup (=200g) cassonade
- 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp (=75 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 tsp (=16 g) baking powder
- 1 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (=450 ml = 400 g) soy milk
- 2 1/2 tbsp (=35 g) vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 320°F. Grease and flour an 8″ springform pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder, until incorporated.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir with a spatula until just combined and no more dry pocket of ingredients remains (do not overmix !). There will still be lumps, it’s ok.

4. Bake for 40 minutes, until an inserted knife comes out clean. Let cool before removing from pan and serving.

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gâteau au chocolat ultra moelleux vegan moist chocolate cakeMy tips:

- Resist the urge to stir until all lumps disappear: it would make for a dense and not so moist chocolate cake.
- I strongly advise to use a kitchen scale to make this recipe: it’s so easy it’s ridiculous, you just leave your bowls on the scale and add the ingredients one by one.

SourceAs Easy As Apple Pie.